Friday, 24 August 2012

Shout Out

Today’s Festival Treasure-inspired sestude is about a spiky comb called a ‘heckle,’ used for teasing out the tough fibres before spinning and weaving the flax into cloth. This gave its name to the interruption and debate that occurred among the belligerent workers in the Dundee flaxworks when the daily news was read out by one of the workforce.  Now, I don’t tend to shout-out other blogs, sites or twitterati, but I think today is the right time.

Even outwith the manic month of August, Edinburgh boasts a vibrant spoken-word scene.  Poetry-readings, story-telling, mini-festivals and random literary gatherings occur unerringly throughout the year.  Well it’s no wonder: we are the first UNESCO City of Literature, home of the Scottish Book Trust, and the Scottish Poetry Library 

Last month, I performed one of my short stories at the Storytelling Centre and participated at Red Squirrel’s monthly ’10-Red’ event (here endeth anonymity) I could reel off a handful of other regular events, but the lovely @auntyemily has written perfectly adequately (and less waffly) on the subject:

At a recent poetry workshop, somebody asked if people ever heckle at poetry readings.  The general consensus was, no.  But yesterday, at an event that was part of the Festival of Spirituality and Peace Jackie Kay was, I think it’s fair to say, heckled by our own national poet, the Makar, Liz Lochhead, regarding her pronunciation of the word, “Quaich.”  Quick as a flash, she rhymed it with ‘quiche’ – which made me think she’d read the April entry of this blog  But no. Even so, I hope she reads this.

And if, with all these links, since I’m now onto the 17th sestude of the year, there is any confusion over what constitutes a ‘sestude;’ or if you are unclear about where I got the idea of completing 26 of them, here is the final shout-out:

Anyway, that’s quite enough interruption: here’s this week’s picture-and-poem…

An Epic, Homeric Hackle

Pretty Penelope sits with her heckle,
a bit of a Jekyll and Hyde.
Every day she teases her flax,
combs it and spins it,
winds it onto the loom.
By night she unravels her garment of gloom,
resigned to be left on the shelf,
returns to her former, single self
until somebody shouts,
‘Oi, you with the freckles:
get on with it!’

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